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The next time you are craving a side dish, try this Lemon Rice recipe. This is a side dish that can be enjoyed with chicken, pork or fish and it’s low in calories. In addition, this Mediterranean style side dish is easy to make and will keep your family happy!
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Easy Lemon Rice Recipe
Say goodbye to ordinary white rice! You’ll start using this recipe for lemon rice as your go-to side dish for everything. Before realizing that a few easy pantry ingredients can quickly transform regular rice from dull to spectacular, I wasted years serving my family boring rice. It’s not just good for you; it’s divine! It is excellent on its own or with Greek chicken, pork, shrimp, veggies, beef or lamb kabobs. Together with basic spices, the subtle lemon flavor creates a delicious dish that also has a savory scent. This rich yet straightforward long grain side dish will improve your dining experience right in your home kitchen.
Ingredients in Lemon Rice
This rice has a beautiful Mediterranean flair, yet only uses easy to find, simple ingredients. Here’s all you need:
- White rice – you can use any long grain rice you like, jasmine or basmati rice.
- Water – you can use chicken broth to add more flavor, or add a tablespoon of butter to your boiling water.
- Olive oil – substitute avocado oil or peanut oil if you like.
- Fresh lemon juice – I use the juice of two fresh lemons, or you can use bottled lemon juice.
- Garlic cloves – crushed or minced
- Ginger – just a pinch of dried ginger or zest some fresh ginger into the rice mixture
- Salt and pepper to taste
Additions and Substitutions to Lemon Rice
This easy rice recipe can be dressed up dozens of ways! Make it differently every time and your family will never get bored with rice for dinner. Here are a few ideas to add flavor to your grains:
- For extra crunch, stir in a handful of your favorite nuts: slivered almonds, pistachios, pecans, peanuts, or cashews.
- Throw in some raisins for a delicious texture and flavor.
- For added flavor, try spicing things up with red chilies, curry leaves, chili powder, turmeric, fresh dill, coriander, urad dal, parsley or mustard seeds before you simmer. More like a Lemon Rice Pilaf.
- No need to complicate the rice cooking process. Prepare your rice as you normally would, in a rice cooker, instant pot or on the stove top. Then add the extra ingredients as directed in the recipe card below.
- For an even creamier texture, I’ve seen recipes where the rice is cooked in broth and milk instead of water. The milk gives the rice a soft, easy to fluff, creamy texture and flavor. I’ve never tried it in this particular recipe, but it’s next on my list!
- For a more authentic Indian flavor, add cilantro, curry powder (about half a teaspoon) or diced green chiles.
- For more of a Greek flavor add feta cheese and fresh herbs.
- Garnish with thin lemon slices and cilantro.
Questions about this Easy Lemon Rice Recipe
You can use white, brown, long grain or short grain rice with this recipe. The less starchy the rice, the better though, because you’ll want the rice grains to be separate rather then clumpy. This rice tastes much better without a mushy texture.
Fresh squeezed lemon juice is best, but you can easily substitute bottled lemon juice too; it still gives off that fragrant lemony flavor and aroma. In a pinch, lime juice can be used too.
Keep leftover rice in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days. You can freeze this rice in a freezer bag for up to a month. Reheat by placing in the microwave until warm.
To make this more like a Greek rice you would simply need to add onions and fresh herbs.
What to Serve with Lemon Rice
This rice is delicious on its own or with any Indian or Greek style recipe. Try it as a side to grilled salmon, vegetables, or chicken souvlaki. Here are a few of our favorites:
How to Make Easy Lemon Rice
Easy Lemon Rice
- Cook rice in a rice cooker or in a pan with a lid according to package directions.
- Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
- Pour the sauce slowly over rice while fluffing with a fork.
- Serve and garnish with cilantro and lemon slices.
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